Romain Grosjean heads into the Chinese Grand Prix full of optimism after showing good speed during the season-opening Australian Grand Prix, although his race was cut short early due to a water leak.
The Haas F1 Team driver was quick in each of the free practice sessions at Albert Park and the qualified an excellent sixth on the grid – the best qualifying result so far for the team – before comfortably running inside the top seven in the race before his retirement.
However, Grosjean remains positive that the VF-17 is a good car, and is hoping for another strong performance at the Shanghai International Circuit next weekend.
“The car felt good to drive from the first lap,” admitted Grosjean. “We made some set-up changes and things reacted pretty well, so that was very positive from the weekend. I felt comfortable all weekend long in the car.
“Qualifying was, of course, a good moment with the new tires and the new cars running on full power with an empty tank, everyone just going for it. It was pretty exciting in that aspect. I was very pleased with how the car was.
“Even on high fuel in the race the car felt good. It’s a shame we did not finish the race, but things are good and we keep our fingers crossed that she’ll be as good in China as she was in Australia.”
Despite the retirement, Grosjean feels it is more important to have a fast car with possible unreliability issues than a reliable slow car, believing it is more of a thrill to be in points scoring contention than outside the top ten.
“It’s always good to have a fast car, one that’s maybe not 100 percent reliable, over a slow car that is reliable,” said Grosjean. “I wouldn’t have much fun finishing the grand prix in 15th, but if I’m always fighting in the top-10 and having some good results, sometimes having an issue at the beginning of the year is not a huge deal.
“We’ve got the performance, which is what we want. Of course, it’s not ideal not to finish the race – that’s not what we want. But again, if the car is fast, we can aim for some good points and the reliability is something we know we can fix.”